Digital Marketing Agency Pricing Survey from Credo (updated 2021): Digital marketing agency pricing and hourly rates

Digital marketing agency pricing and hourly rates


The average hourly rate worldwide is $138. The average hourly rate for consultants is $143. The average hourly rate for agencies is $137.94.

One of the most common ways buyers look at a marketing agency’s price is through the lens of their “hourly rate.” 

Because of this, we’re including the hourly rates as self-reported by respondents to our survey. They are below. Below that, you should read my take on hourly rates and why I think they’re a decent proxy for how good an agency or consultant is but not for the reasons you think. It is important to note however that a full 49.88% of agencies surveyed do not bill by the hour.

  • Average digital marketing provider hourly rate worldwide is $138.
  • Average marketing consultant hourly rate is $143
  • Average marketing agency hourly rate is $137.94

Retainers

Agencies usually work primarily on retainers, as that lets them get the best results for their clients.

  • Approximately 50% of agencies have a retainer minimum of $2,000 per month or less.
  • Only 13.5% have a minimum over $5,000 per month, and only 8% do not have a minimum.
  • Only 1.21% of respondents to the survey do not offer retainers!

Single Projects

Many agencies take single projects as well. Sometimes they do this because they enjoy audits and do not like ongoing work, while others do them to fill in revenue gaps and provide a service while also working towards earning a marketing retainer from that client.

  • 36% of agencies have a single project minimum under $2,000.
  • 21% have a single project minimum over $5,000.
  • Just 10.47% do not have a minimum, and only 1.65% do not do single projects.

The verdict?

Most digital marketing agencies and consultants offer affordable marketing services and packages for both small businesses and larger enterprises. This includes both retainers and single projects, depending on the need.

The price, of course, varies based on the scope of the project. Some providers charge more to get a project done faster whereas others will charge less but the project may take longer to complete or results may take longer to be seen.

The problem with hourly rates as a proxy for how good a provider is

Hourly rates are simply one measure and are often misinterpreted by buyers, so I want to talk about it for a minute.

All too often, when talking with buyers, we hear the comment of, “Oh, that’s too expensive for me,” when an hourly rate is given. The problem here is that the buyer has dismissed out of hand the potential provider off of one data point instead of becoming curious about why the provider might be willing to charge that amount.

Instead, get curious about why a provider is willing to charge that much! Believe it or not, agencies and service providers are not out to just take your money and not provide a service! Here at Credo, we see that agencies all too often undercharge for their services and could provide a much better service to their clients if they charged more!

When a provider is willing to charge more (per hour or as a minimum for a project or retainer), it often means some very good things for you. It sounds crazy to say, but when a provider charges more it should mean that they:

  1. Are more experienced than someone charging less and is confident in their ability to drive value for you;
  2. Are likely in high demand and charging more is their way of managing their pipeline as that means fewer businesses are willing or able to pay their rates;
  3. Have confidence in their work product and that it is worth those rates.

When quoted a certain rate or amount for a project you should ask yourself first why they are willing to charge that and if paying them that rate may be the right investment for your money if more upfront can get you a better return.

Figuring this out ahead of time is very difficult of course, which is specifically why we wrote our guide to hiring a marketing agency.

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